Thesis (Ph.D)

The Alzheimer's Disease Life Events Study


The Alzheimer's Disease Life Events study examines whether there is a relationship between life events and Alzheimer's disease (AD). The ADLE study uses a mixed methods approach to answer the central research question:Are life events a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease? The central research question uses the following theory questions to examine:1. Is there a difference between the number of life events between patients and controls, using the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule (LEDS)(Brown and Harris, 1978) as a measurement tool?2. Is there a difference in the way (i.e. positive, neutral and negative) life events are discussed and in the range of emotions expressed when discussing life events between the patients and controls? 3. Are there any differences in the narrative constructions of life events, as interpreted by the Biographic Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM)(Wengraf, 2001, 2008) between the patient and control groups? 4. Can the differences, between the patient and control groups, in the narratives be developed into a diagnostic marker? 5. Can the Emotion Word Coding (EWC)(Danner et aI., 2000) be used as a diagnostic marker by being applied to text collected from patients and controls over a period of decades? The ADLE study found that the patient group had experienced more life events in comparison with the control group as defined by the LEOS (Brown and Harris, 1978), and that the patient group had experienced more bereavements under the age of 51 years. The evidence supports the association between life events and AD.Even though there were significantly more life events experienced by the patients, the EWC (Danner et aI., 2001) found significantly fewer discussions expressing emotion bythe patients, particularly the negatively described ones. The range of negative and positive words used to describe the life events was significantly fewer too. This implies that the ways the patients express emotions about life events is substantially different from the controls. This finding was mirrored in the thematic field analysis of the BNIM interviews (Wengraf, 2001, 2008), which found differences in the content and structure of the narratives, and the emotional expression in the narratives about life events. A tool has been constructed using the differences between patients and controls to contribute to the early diagnosis of AD. In addition, the ADLE study has contributed to a gap in the knowledge about life events and AD.

Attached files


Haigh, A


Year: 2009

© Haigh, A
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